Scouts and homeschooling is a great combination. As homeschoolers, we have the ability to set our regular coursework aside for a day or two to focus on engineering for a Webelos activity badge instead of reading our biology. Or to set Physical Science aside for a couple weeks to focus on the Environmental Science merit badge.
Science is one perfect place to do Scout School. There are science related requirements or electives through all the levels of Cub Scouts. But in Boy Scouts? Wow! I think a science plan that I will have for all my boys in late 5th (when they cross over from Cubs) and 6th grade is for them to choose three or four science related merit badges, and for us to use those as a spine for our "transitioning to junior high" science program. I'll even do the same for my daughter... the merit badges are that good.
Science badges Connor (my only Boy Scout) has earned, include: Nature, Insect Study, Dentistry, and First Aid. He is working on Radio, and starting Environmental Science soon.
Other science badges he could earn, though, include:
- Natural Sciences, 11 total (archeology, astronomy, various types of animals, geology, weather)
- Physical Sciences, 7 total (from Chemistry and Computers to Nuclear Science and Space Exploration)
- Professions, 7 total (Architecture, Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Medicine, Surveying, Veterinary Medicine)
- Conservation, 4 total (Environmental Science, Fish & Wildlife Management, Forestry, Soil and Water Conservation)
- Miscellaneous, stuff like Animal Science, Composite Materials, or Gardening
The merit badge pamphlets, which cost less than $5, make fantastic textbooks regardless of whether or not you are a scout. Sonlight used to use the Oceanography merit badge book as part of their Science 7 program, which I am fortunate enough to own (they no longer create -- or sell -- that level).
For almost all the Boy Scout merit badges, I can also add in belt loops, pins, rank requirements, or rank electives for my Cub Scouts too. So when Connor chooses a merit badge to work on, one of the first things I do is to see what related requirements there are for William or Thomas... and either all three do the activities together, or I have Connor teach the appropriate material to his brothers. For some merit badges, one requirement actually does involve teaching others... so Connor visited his brother's Webelos den to teach the Heimlich Maneuver, for instance. All those boys met one Readyman requirement, and Connor finished the last thing he needed for the First Aid merit badge.
I'm in the midst of a Citizenship unit based on scout requirements... maybe I'll talk about that next week!